There is a passage of Scripture that shook me to the core. It may very well be the one passage of scripture that led me to be saved. Since I was 7, I believed that I was saved. Until I read this passage. How could someone have gone to church for so long, and never had read this? My fear now, is that there are many more just like I was.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of them says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” James 2:14-19
Up until the day I read this passage from James in earnest, had I died, I would have heard the worst words possible, “I never knew you.” If you have had any experience in church, you have probably heard it said, “You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20 reads, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
What kind of fruit was I bearing? Any? Too many times I focused on the believing part, and there is no doubt, I have always believed in One God. It had never crossed my mind that the demons, even Satan himself, believe that. But, did my actions serve as proof of my faith? The honest answer was no.
Had I done good deeds? Of course, and from a worldly standpoint, most would even say I was a pretty good guy. But, why did I do those good deeds? Why do I do them now? Before, it made me feel good, and today it still does, but when asked why, the answer today is Jesus Christ who commanded me to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul and to love my neighbor as myself.
There is one ultimate reason for good deeds. If any of us could prevent a friend from dying, we would do everything possible to save our friend’s life. So, if we believe that the destination for an unbelieving friend is eternal damnation in hell, why wouldn’t we do everything possible to prevent that from happening? In the first example, we are protecting their life that will end eventually anyway. In the second, we are talking about eternity. That never ends!
What if they get mad? What if they hate me for talking “religion” with them? What if they’re offended? Those things are possible. What if they die and spend eternity in hell? That’s a certainty without Christ. Offended or hell? What would you choose?
Reading the passage from James also inspired me to read more scripture to see what a real follower of Christ looks like and that changes the world around us especially in a country where we can do it openly. At least for now.
That’s now the mission! David Hill, Founder of The One Spark Foundation, and I hope you will follow us and join us in being a light for the rest of the world to see. A light that points towards Jesus. God Bless!